Educational Principles of Canadian Reformed Schools
Especially in their contact with provincial governments, the Canadian Reformed School Societies have developed a view of educational based on principles such as these:
Education cannot be divorced from religious convictions, principles and values.
- Reformed education maintains that parents – in obedience to the divine mandate – retain the full primary responsibility for the education of their children, and therefore claim the prior right to choose the desirable form of education for them.
- Reformed education is based on the bond between home, school, and church, recognizing the unique interaction between home, school, and church as the unshakeable foundation for all of life.
- Reformed education seeks to educate the whole child, i.e., it seeks to develop the ethical and moral, as well as the aesthetic, physical, and intellectual dimensions of each child, so that each child may love and serve his/her Creator and his/her neighbour with his/her whole heart, soul, and mind.
- Reformed education seeks to provide its students with an understanding of the nature and purpose of life, as well as with knowledge and skills which will enable them to live and work as children of their heavenly Father in today's society, and to contribute to that society.
- Reformed education seeks to present a comprehensive view of the world in all its expressions, recognizing it as God's creation, with as purpose God's glorification, and as ultimate destiny the great restoration when God will restore the whole of creation to its former glory and perfection.
These principles are the basis for the description of reformed education as you may find in the handbook of a reformed school. An example of such a description follows here:
Since God requires that His people be educated according to His Word (Deuteronomy 6:6, 7; Psalm 78:1-4), members of local Canadian Reformed Churches have established independent schools to assist parents in the fulfilment of the promises they make at the baptismal font, so that there may be harmony between the teachings of the Church, and those of the home and the school.
Reformed education endeavours to equip its students for a life of service to God and in His kingdom. The basis for the instruction at a Reformed school may be summarized as follows:
- The entire curriculum will be taught in obedience to the Holy Scriptures which are the infallible Word of God, as summarized in the doctrinal statements of the Canadian Reformed Churches.
- The teaching in every subject will take into account that the students are heirs of the Covenant established by God between Himself and the believers. As covenant children, these students are under God's care and protection, and are called to obedient service in all areas of life.
- Each subject in the curriculum will have as its point of departure the cultural mandate as it is enunciated in Genesis 1:28, and elaborated upon throughout the entire Scriptures.
- Since this cultural mandate is to be exercised in a world which is lost in the misery and guilt incurred by man's fall into sin, but which in principle has been redeemed by Christ, the aim of all instruction will be to equip the students as Christians for their various tasks in this world.
These general, broad description of reformed education can be translated in the following educational aim, describing the task of the school:
The education at a Reformed school – being one aspect of the total education, and being itself totally subject to God's Word – will help with the optimum equipment of God's covenant children towards service to Him and to their neighbours. This statement of aim may be further specified as follows:
- Having regard for the true unity in education between home and school, the task of the school is to assist the parents in the upbringing and nurture of their children.
- The school shall foster and promote willingness and understanding within the students so that they come to independent and conscious use of their talents, skills, and knowledge to the honour of God, and to the benefit of their neighbour.
- Having regard for the individual differences of the students, the school shall assist them in the optimum acquisition of skills and knowledge required to enable them to function as Christians in today's society.